Reviewed: January 25, 2014
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Moonbound Clan Vampires, Book 1
Rating: 4 Stars
Length: 400 Pages
Formats: Print, eBook
Disclosure: An ARC of this book was provided to me by Pocket Books publisher Simon & Schuster via NetGalley.
This rating, review, and all included thoughts and comments are my own.
Nicole Martin has feared and hated vampires for every one of the twenty years that have passed since the vampire slave revolt that slaughtered her parents and almost cost her her life. Now CEO of Daedalus, her parents' multinational corporation, and a respected researcher specializing in vampire physiology, Nicole has returned to her childhood home in Seattle to deal with some corporate issues, issues that have the Vampire Humane Society and their ilk up in arms. Before she can even meet with the board, however, her home is broken into and Nicole comes face to fangs with her worst nightmare.
The vampire she witnessed kill his own mate and unborn child when Nicole was a child.
Riker's clan MoonBound is facing a brutal war they cannot win. If they don't return a gifted visiting female to her clan, they will exact revenge. The larger and more unscrupulous clan will wipe MoonBound off the planet. Problem is, the female has been captured by Daedalus, a company that has made billions enslaving his kind, torturing them, or treating them like disposable lab rats. A company run by the family responsible for the death of his mate and unborn child.
Riker's plan is simple: break into the Martin home and get Dr. Nicole Martin to give him the missing female...by whatever means necessary. Unfortunately for both Nicole and Riker, things don't go even close to according to plan, and soon the two mortal enemies are going to have to put their animosity aside just to survive.
Larissa Ione proves yet again she's at the top of her game with this dark, edgy series debut. I've long been a fan of Ione's complex world building, damaged characters, and sexy-as-sin romance, and was delighted to see her kicking off a new series outside the world of her Demonica and Lords of Deliverance series. She definitely delivered on this one.
This book has everything I need in a series debut and then some. The world building and mythos were complex and layered, providing a rock-solid foundation for the plot, one that tantalized and teased, revealing itself gradually as the story progresses. Nicole and Riker were great lead characters, each with their own demons and damage, and their chemistry burned up the pages, even when they hated each other. Maybe especially when they hated each other. The sexual and emotional tension they generated from the start set a perfect tone for the slow-boil of their relationship arc.
Another Ione standard, a diverse cast of likable secondary characters, was also in evidence. They provided a perfect blend of friction, support, and even humor as they were introduced, acquitting themselves well in the story. I'm dying to find out about Myne's past, see what Hunter got himself into at the end, spend more time with the weird but brilliant Grant. And Bastian. And Lucy. And...well, I could definitely go on. Ione doesn't skimp on her secondary characters, and they all feel deliciously three-dimensional and real.
The book has a lot going on for it story-wise, too. There's quite a journey between Nicole and Riker's initial introduction and the story's conclusion. A lot of conflict. A lot of danger and deadly consequence. A lot of blood and pain. Between Nicole and Riker, between the vamps and the humans, between the different vampire clans...the story is overflowing with conflict. They are many and varied, providing action, danger, and deadly threat, often laying waste to the characters' lives. It was a very meaty and full-flavored plot in that regard.
Maybe there was even a little too much going on against Nicole and Riker. It didn't leave quite enough room for me to really believe the relative speed with which they went from bitter enemies to lusty co-conspirators. There were a lot of cards stacked against them, especially in the beginning, and I'm not sure I bought how quickly their attitudes changed. It wasn't a deal breaker for me - frankly, I was enjoying the hell out of the world so much that I was able to mostly forgive it - but I did notice it.
I think my favorite elements were the world and the mythos. It's a dark, often ugly, very dangerous world where the slavery, rape, and torture of vampires are de rigueur and even the "good" guys are unapologetic - if justified - killers. Including the main and secondary characters. But the humans are so very much worse. As twisted as it makes me, I liked that aspect in particular very much.
This book just worked for me. For its originality of premise, (relative) plausibility, great characters, wealth of story, and future story potential it left me hungry for more. The smoking hot sex wasn't exactly a turn-off, either; Ione's no slouch in that department. I can't wait to find out what happens next.
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